The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

George, Stephenson help Indiana dunk Clippers 106-92 for 4th straight win

  • Print

INDIANAPOLIS - Paul George put an emphatic 360-degree twist on the Pacers' latest blowout.

Lob City's stars just watched in amazement.

George scored 36 points, the last two on a reverse windmill dunk that brought fans to their feet and the Clippers to their knees in Indiana's 106-92 rout Saturday night.

"It was just instinctive," George said after helping to end the Clippers' five-game winning streak. "I wanted to put on a show for the fans."

The entire season has been a showcase for the Pacers (32-7), who have the NBA's best record, the league's best home record at 21-1 and a 3 1/2-game lead in the Eastern Conference over two-time defending champion Miami.

George's highlight-reel dunks and Lance Stephenson's increasingly commonplace poses are all becoming part of Indiana's normal routine.

George, last year's Most Improved Player, has six 30-point games and 27 20-point games this season. The 23-year-old emerging star is ranked among the league leaders in scoring, free throw percentage and steals, and he might be higher in rebounds and assists if the Pacers weren't blowing teams out with regularity.

Critics might contend the only real thing missing from his resume is pizazz. Those complaints disappeared with one dunk contest move that George saved for game time. Armed with a 20-point lead and a clear path to the basket, he leapt in the air, spun around, slammed the ball with one hand, stuck the landing and ran back to play defence. Fans and most of his teammates immediately jumped to their feet.

"I just wanted to celebrate," Stephenson said. "I didn't want to get back on defence. I've not seen one like that in a game I've been in."

Indiana fans haven't seen anything quite like this season, either, not even when Reggie Miller was running the show.

The Pacers have now won four straight, all by at least 14 points, and fell just short of winning four in a row by 20 or more points for the first time in franchise history.

All this came on a night Indiana wasn't even at full strength in the second half. Power forward David West was ejected at halftime after the officials gave him a flagrant 2 foul after a replay review. All-Star centre Roy Hibbert and West's backup, Luis Scola, started the fourth quarter on the bench in foul trouble and wound up taking the rest of the night off.

Indiana didn't even need them. George barely missed, going 12 of 17 from the field, 5 of 6 on 3-pointers and 7 of 7 from the free throw line. He had six points and three steals, too.

Stephenson, who leads the NBA with three triple-doubles, settled for 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Indiana's bench pitched in, too. Danny Granger added 12 points and now has nine double-figure games in 14 appearances this season, while C.J. Watson had 11 points.

The Clippers' bigger problem was Indiana's stout defence.

Indiana had a 48-39 rebounding edge, a 42-32 edge on points in the paints and limited the high-scoring Clippers to 39.8 per cent from the field and six fast-break points.

Jamal Crawford finished with 22 points off the bench, while Blake Griffin had 19 points and rebounds and DeAndre Jordan finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds to lead Los Angeles (28-14).

That wasn't nearly enough to keep up with the Pacers, who ended the Clippers' run of four consecutive 109-point games.

"We didn't play well at all," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought their defence really rushed us. We talked about how they tried to channel you into their bigs and we kept falling for it over and over again. We just didn't execute offensively."

Indiana led 28-18 after one, 45-27 midway through the second and by as much as 20 in the third quarter before the Clippers showed any indication they may rally. Crawford spurred a 9-3 run to end the third quarter and got the Clippers within 81-72 early in the fourth.

But a layup from Stephenson started a 17-4 run, capped by George's incredible dunk that gave the Pacers lots of momentum heading into a five-game West Coast swing that begins Monday at Golden State.

"It's just guys rising up to the occasion and stepping up," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Lance and Paul, they can do a lot of things."

Notes: Indiana completed its first season sweep of the Clippers since 2005-06. ... The Clippers' five-game winning streak matched a season best. ... Hibbert finished with five blocks, all in the first quarter. ... Indiana has won 20 games this season by 10 or more points.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Dustin Byfuglien reflects on season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google